Last month, the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (G-ETS) appointed Taurean J. Webb as its Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience. The prominent Methodist seminary also announced that Webb would be joining its faculty as an assistant professor of religion and race upon completion of his dissertation.
“We are delighted that Mr. Webb has accepted our invitation to join the Garrett-Evangelical faculty,” said G-ETS President Lallene J. Rector. “His work in black theology, commitment to interfaith dialogue and activism, and expertise in critical race theory are gifts that will enhance and strengthen the seminary’s commitment to preparing spiritual leaders for today’s church and world.”
If G-ETS considers what Webb has to offer as “gifts,” then hopefully they kept the receipts. Using his position as Adjunct Professor of Black History at DePaul University, Webb was a featured speaker at the 2018 convention of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).
While AMP claims to stand “against all forms of bigotry and racism,” the annual event boasted a star-studded cast of anti-Jewish bigots and terrorist sympathizers. Sharing the platform with Webb were Imam Omar Suleiman, who has called homosexuality a “repugnant shameless sin” and justified sex slavery, and Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who is on record as lending support to genocidal terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
But this is simply the norm for AMP, given that its founder, Hatem Bazian, has a long history of propagating anti-Semitic tropes such as retweeting images accusing Ashkenazi Jews of rape, murder, and organ trafficking.
Webb should feel right at home among these reprehensible individuals. In 2016, Webb authored his “Journey Toward Justice” training program based on the Kairos Palestine Document that has been denounced by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis as theological anti-Semitism.
Taking a page from the Kairos Palestine Document, Webb’s training program distorts religious texts to promote hatred of Judaism and the Jewish people. In furtherance of its commitment to provide a legitimate framework for interfaith dialogue and understanding, the curriculum teaches that the effects of the Holocaust are an exaggeration by American Jews as a way to harm African-Americans. Furthermore, it also teaches that American Jews should be punished because they “whitened” themselves after the Second World War, and that the creation of the State of Israel was both “evil” and a “structural sin.”
In a now-removed Facebook post from November 2018, Webb praised as heroes the Holy Land Foundation, the terror group convicted in 2008 on all 108 criminal counts against them — including its funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. In February of this year, Webb used his position to stage a play called “The Whipping Man,” which blames Jews for American slavery.
DePaul University should be ashamed to have such a person on its faculty. But given that anti-Jewish bigotry has pervaded campus life for years, it is unlikely that Webb will ever be subjected to disciplinary action. In 2014, Jewish students at DePaul told the Haym Salomon Center that they no longer felt safe on campus due to campaigns conducted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
There is a direct correlation between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses. According to a 2018 report by the campus watchdog group AMCHA Initiative, “Israel-related incidents are actually more likely to contribute to a hostile environment for Jewish students.” It is no coincidence that Webb is also on the board of Friends of Sabeel North America, the leading BDS group in America.
Webb cannot possibly be considered a genuine spiritual leader, and he is clearly unfit to be a professor. Rather than condemn Webb’s hate speech, both G-ETS and DePaul are complicit in according his flagrant bigotry a veneer of respectability. If these institutions were truly interested in eradicating bigotry and racism, firing Webb would be a good start.
Bradley Martin is a Senior Fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.